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dc.contributor.authorSpencer, Beren
dc.contributor.authorBartle, J.
dc.contributor.authorHuxtable, D.
dc.contributor.authorMazanec, R.
dc.contributor.authorAbadi, Amir
dc.contributor.authorGibberd, Mark
dc.contributor.authorZerihun, Ayalsew
dc.identifier.citationSpencer, B. and Bartle, J. and Huxtable, D. and Mazanec, R. and Abadi, A. and Gibberd, M. and Zerihun, A. 2019. A decadal multi-site study of the effects of frequency and season of harvest on biomass production from mallee eucalypts. Forest Ecology and Management. 453: Article No. 117576.

© 2019 Elsevier B.V.

Mallee eucalypts are hardy, woody perennials that are being developed as a short-rotation coppice crop in Australia for the production of eucalyptus oil, biofuels and other biomass products. The economic viability of this prospective crop is dependent on its ability to survive and regenerate following repeated harvesting of the above ground component. Here we report on survival and biomass yield of mallee belt plantings of Eucalyptus polybractea, E. loxophleba ssp lissophloia and E. kochii ssp plenissima, at 19 sites, under two harvest-frequencies (3–8 year cycles) and harvest seasons (autumn or spring) over a decade from 2006 to 2015. 16 sites had post-harvest mortality ranging from 1.0% to 12.2% while the remaining three sites with either shallow saline water tables or a silcrete hardpan failed. Average site dry biomass yield across treatments ranged from 2.2 to 32.8 Mg ha−1 yr−1. Higher yielding sites were generally characterised by pH between 3.8 and 8, ECe below 15.0 dS m−1 and high soil fertility. Lower yielding sites were generally near saline valley floors. After 7-years, biomass yield from unharvested treatments exceeded the average cumulative yield of harvest treatments at eight of the 16 sites, including all three E. kochii sites. For E. loxophleba, significant interactions were found between season and frequency of harvest with highest yields in long rotation spring treatments. There were also interactions between site and frequency of harvest, which were mainly driven by the variable performance of the uncut treatment. On average E. loxophleba yielded more biomass following spring harvests whereas E. kochii yielded more following autumn harvests. E. polybractea yield was unaffected by season or frequency of harvest; however, harvest treatments yielded more biomass than uncut treatments. After 10 years, at eight of the nine sites subjected to three 3-year cycles, no decline in biomass yield was observed. The site that declined in production was attributed to depletion of a sandplain aquifer by extensive mallee plantings. Overall, the results from this decadal study indicate that in warm-temperate semi-arid areas, such as the south-west of WA, mallees biomass can be harvested sustainably at most sites even in short (3-year) rotation cycles.

dc.subjectScience & Technology
dc.subjectLife Sciences & Biomedicine
dc.subjectBioenergy crops
dc.subjectCarbon sequestration
dc.subjectMallee eucalypts
dc.subjectMultiple harvest cycles
dc.subjectOil mallee
dc.subjectShort-rotation coppice
dc.subjectTree mortality
dc.subjectOIL MALLEES
dc.subjectTREE BELTS
dc.titleA decadal multi-site study of the effects of frequency and season of harvest on biomass production from mallee eucalypts
dc.typeJournal Article
dcterms.source.titleForest Ecology and Management
curtin.departmentSchool of Molecular and Life Sciences (MLS)
curtin.accessStatusOpen access
curtin.facultyFaculty of Science and Engineering
curtin.contributor.orcidZerihun, Ayalsew [0000-0002-6021-9624]
curtin.identifier.article-numberARTN 117576
curtin.contributor.scopusauthoridGibberd, Mark [6701329783]
curtin.contributor.scopusauthoridZerihun, Ayalsew [6602180048]

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